Saturday, July 14, 2012

Canadian Blogger Spotlight: Rachelia from Bookish Comforts Talks Recommended Canadian Reads

Today I'm pleased to introduce you to our second Canadian blogger in the spotlight, Rachelia from Bookish Comforts. The first was Sarah from Workaday Reads (be sure to check out her post on hometown authors - she's doing a givaway!) Rachelia's here to talk to us about her favourite Canadian books. Please give her a warm welcome, and be sure to have your to-read list handy because I bet you'll be adding to it! This will also be helpful to those participating in the Canadian Reading Challenge this month.
Hello there. :) My name is Rachelia and I run the blog Bookish Comforts. First off, thank you Marie for allowing me to share my love of Canadian books! However, I'll fess up right now - I haven't read anything by Margaret Atwood, L.M. Montgomery, or Kelley Armstrong, although their books are all on my to read list... So where do I get off telling readers about great Canadian books you may ask? Well, as a Canadian I've read a lot of books by Canadian authors (or books set in Canada) and I think I can offer a variety of recommended reads from different genres so that everyone can find a Canadian book they will enjoy! Without further ado, these are ten books I'd recommend to someone interested in reading books by Canadian authors and/or set in Canada. 


The Birth House by Ami McKay 
Reading can be a great way to learn more about the history of a country – especially your own! Ami McKay's debut novel, The Birth House is a masterpiece that brings to life women's experiences giving birth in Nova Scotia during the early to mid-1900s. The story deals with the conflict between medicine, and midwifery (among many other themes) and is absolutely beautiful and engaging!  
Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden
Three Day Road was my university’s recommended read my freshman year and I quite liked it. The story it tells is one Canadians don’t often hear about – the contributions of Aboriginal peoples in World War I. You may think you’ve read all the books out there on World War I, but if you haven’t read this one, then you really haven’t. The story between two Cree best friends, Xavier and Elijah, and their experiences on the warfront will both warm your heart and horrify you. However, the horror isn’t left on the battlefield, as racism is once again faced by Aboriginal heroes upon returning home. This one gave me chills while reading because of the imagery, symbolism and prose were just that good.

The Book of Negroes: A Novel by Lawrence Hill 
Another book that touches upon a little known chapter in Canadian history – the history of freed slaves landing in Nova Scotia, and trying to start a new life while learning that while they may be freed legally, society can still try and keep them under lock and key with discrimination and prejudices. The main character, Aminata’s story is heartbreaking and enlightening as she is yanked from her home and dragged around the world. The book is about her experiences enslaved and free, young and old. This one really touches your heart and is a complex and masterful historical story. Every Canadian should read this one!  

Holly Bennett's The Bonemender's series 
I first read the titular novel of Bennett's series in 2007, as it was nominated for a White Pine Award and I was reading it as part of my high school’s reading challenge. I loved this YA fantasy series about a princess with special healing gifts who is determined to help on the battlefield when war breaks out. It incorporates a lot of Irish lore and is fast paced and engaging! 

I remember both my local and school libraries always had a good collection of Orca Soundings Books, which are “short high-interest novels with contemporary themes, written expressly for teens reading below grade level”, however, I think there is such a variety of themes that anyone can be attracted to these books. Orca Soundings may actually be the first books that initially sparked my interest in reading YA Saves books, since most of these revolve around a current issue and explore both the issue and teen’s responses. Some of the ones I remember reading and really liking include: Charmed (prostitution), Dead-End Job (stalking), Truth (murder) and Sticks and Stones (bullying) but there are a TON of these books on a variety of subjects!  

Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt 
Do you ever read a book and years later you can’t remember exactly why you loved it, but you get these glimpses and feelings? Well that’s what my love for this book is like. This was another White Pine read I believe, and I remember being mesmerized by it. It’s very much a romantic fantasy or fairy tale, with the plot revolving around Keturah buying time from Lord Death with her storytelling abilities, only to have to find true love within a day if she wants to live. I remember that feeling of being enchanted by the beautiful writing and being swept away by the story. I think this one would have wide appeal for YA readers as it could be classified as fantasy, historical fiction, paranormal, AND romance. 

Want more great Canadian YA fiction? Check out these White Pine award nominees lists by year.


Temperance Brennan series by Kathy Reichs 
Do you like watching crime shows such as CSI and Criminal Minds? Then you'll likely be enthralled with Kathy Reichs books, which focus on the life and work of forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (the show Bones is based off this character!). What makes these books extra special is that Reichs is actually a forensic anthropologist so she KNOWS what she's talking about. The books can be quite technical, but the story is always complex, and exciting! Recommended (you don’t really have to read this series in order): Monday Mourning, Devil Bones, 206 Bones, Spider Bones

ROOM by Emma Donoghue 
ROOM is a very different read than your usual adult fiction book, as it is told entirely from the perspective of a young child, and the majority of the book takes place in a small room. Although I did have a few problems with the book, which you can read about in my review, it was also a fascinating read of a horrifying story – a young woman has been kidnapped and forced to live in one room for five years, along with the son she has had at the hands of her kidnapper. The unusual narration makes for a challenging, but ultimately, rewarding read. If you are looking for something a bit different definitely check this one out! 
This book, set in Toronto, is about being 20-something years old (the sort of in-between of young adult and adult) in our fast-pace, modern, technological world. The book has about a million things going on, but it works because it has complex characters – from a range of genders and sexualities (yay!) – who alternate narrating the story and are put through real trials and tribulations. There’s a bit of something that everyone can relate to!  


Rick Mercer Report: The Book by Rick Mercer 
Is non-fiction your thing? Well then I highly recommend you read this book! If you don't know who Rick Mercer is you've been missing out. He is sort of Canada's version of Jon Stewart and the Daily Show...except I find him much funnier. Mercer's show is a mix of political satire and exploration of Canada and is always great for a good laugh - you can watch clips from the show on his official YouTube channel. His writing is just as funny as his stage presence, and I loved reading excerpts of his rants and political interviews, as well as his other memorable experiences. You don't need a TON of knowledge of Canadian politics to read this one, but it would help. 

And that’s it! I could go on, but I think 10 is a good number to leave off at. I hope I’ve introduced you to some new Canadian authors and books – happy reading! :) 

About Rachelia:  Rachelia is a 21-year-old student who lives in Ontario, Canada, and loves to read. Her favourite moments in life are when she can snuggle up with a cup of tea and a good book (new or old) and lose herself in amazing literary worlds. She started Bookish Comforts because she loves ranting and raving about books, and wanted to share her passion with others. Her reading preferences vary - she reads both fiction and non-fiction - and she enjoys young adult, adult, contemporary, historical fiction, paranormal, and some suspense/thriller. She's always looking for new recommendations, so be sure to stop by her blog, say hi, and let her know what you're reading!

Find Rachelia online:

Thanks so much for sharing all these great Canadian books with us, Rachelia!

Has anyone else read any of these books? I haven't, but I've added some to my to-read list!

This post has been part of the Canadian Spotlight Month. Click the graphic below to check out the schedule and all things Canadian here at Ramblings of a Daydreamer. 

1 comment:

  1. Great picks! The Book of Negroes and Room are amazing, amazing reads! I have The Birth House on my TBR list after finishing The Virgin Cure, by Ami McKay, which was really good. I also just got The Book, by Rick Mercer, a few months ago!

    So much great talent in Canada! Thanks for the recommendations!


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